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Monday, 15 April 2013

Leonardo da Vinci, Artist/Inventor/Scientist

b. April 15, 1452
May 2, 1519

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence

Leonardo Da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance man. His curiosity and genius led him to make observations, experiments and breakthroughs in a variety of fields including engineering, architecture, math, anatomy, optics, astronomy, geology, biology and philosophy. His artwork and inventions, many of them advanced far beyond normal innovations of the time period, continue to earn him wide acclaim.

Artist Andrea del Verrocchio hired Da Vinci, at age 15, as his apprentice. While working with Verrocchio in Florence, Da Vinci learned a broad range of skills including painting, sculpting and drafting. In 1472, he was accepted into the painters' guild in Florence. Da Vinci lived mostly in Florence and Milan for the rest of his career while working on commissioned art. "Mona Lisa," "The Last Supper" and "Madonna of the Rocks" are a few of his most famous paintings.

Da Vinci left behind a collection of 40 notebooks, of which 31 still remain. He filled these notebooks with diagrams and records of his observations and research in the fields of painting, architecture, mechanics, human anatomy, geophysics, botany, hydrology and aerology.

Da Vinci's documents demonstrate that he conceptualized helicopters, tanks and calculators long before construction of these devices became feasible. He also envisioned solar power and developed a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.
Da Vinci's professions included civil engineer, musician, military planner and weapons designer. He worked as the court artist for the Duke of Milan. From 1513 to 1516 he lived in Rome. He developed a close relationship with Niccolò Machiavelli and mathematician Luca Pacioli, with whom he helped write "Divina Proportione" (1509).

No evidence suggests that Da Vinci had relationships with women. His closest relationships were with two of his male pupils, Melzi and Salai.

“Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter and Sculpter of Florence (1452-1519).” Life of an Artist: Biographies and Galleries. July 1, 2007
Kemp, Martin. Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment, and Design. Princeton University Press. 2006
Nicholl, Charles. Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind. Penguin. 2005
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